ESPN’s WNBA Tip Off Presented by CarMax features a trio of 2022 opening weekend games, May 7-8, as many of the biggest stars in women’s basketball take the court. ESPN’s 26th WNBA season begins Saturday at 6 p.m. ET when 2021 league MVP Jonquel Jones leads the Connecticut Sun against Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty.
On Sunday, ESPN2 features a star-studded Mother’s Day primetime doubleheader – Washington Mystics at Minnesota Lynx (8 p.m.), followed by the Seattle Storm at Las Vegas Aces (10 p.m.). Shakira Austin, the No. 3 overall draft pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, leads the Mystics while two-time WNBA champion and the league’s all-time leading rebounder Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx begins her 15th and final season. In the late game, Sue Bird, the league’s all-time assists leader and 12-time All-Star selection, enters her 19th active season, alongside three-time WNBA All-Star Jewell Loyd in the Storm backcourt. Under new head coach Becky Hammon, the Aces will be led by two-time All-Star and 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson.
ESPN’s WNBA Tip Off presented by CarMax Schedule (May 7-8):
|Sat, May 7||6 p.m.||Connecticut Sun at New York LibertyRyan Ruocco, Rebecca Lobo, Holly Rowe||ESPN|
|Sun, May 8||8 p.m.||Washington Mystics at Minnesota LynxPam Ward, Stephanie White, Ros Gold-Onwude||ESPN2|
|10 p.m.||Seattle Storm at Las Vegas AcesTiffany Greene, LaChina Robinson||ESPN2|
ESPN Commentators for the 2022 WNBA Season:
- Play-by-play: Ryan Ruocco, Pam Ward, Tiffany Greene
- Analysts: Rebecca Lobo, LaChina Robinson, Stephanie White
- Reporters: Holly Rowe, Ros Gold-Onwude, Terrika Foster-Brasby
- Hosts: Robinson, Monica McNutt and Christine Williamson
- Analysts: Carolyn Peck and Andraya Carter
ESPN’s innovative presentation will once again feature live in-game audio with coaches mic’d up. Players will also be mic’d up for games this season on ABC.
In all, The WNBA on ESPN presented by Google schedulein 2022features 25 regular season games. A year ago, the WNBA regular season averaged 306,000 viewers across all networks (ABC, ESPN and ESPN2), a 49 percent increase versus 2020. In addition, half of the top-10 most-viewed WNBA regular season games on ESPN networks since 2012 aired last season, including ABC’s Seattle Storm-Chicago Sky matchup in August, which attracted 755,000 viewers.
Mirroring the overall ESPN regular season and playoff schedule, a full slate of Spanish-language WNBA game telecasts will again be available on ESPN Deportes and via ESPN3.com, including three games during Tip Off Weekend. Commentators will include the main telecast team of Kenneth Garay and Pablo Viruega, and more.
ESPN Studio Shows/Features
In addition to this weekend’s games, ESPN studio shows will highlight the WNBA Tip Off weekend. Coverage will include:
- ESPN special correspondent Angela Rye spoke with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert about a variety of topics, including the state of the league and how the WNBA has responded to Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia. The piece airs Thursday on the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter and Friday on NBA Today.
- SportsCenter anchor and NCAA women’s basketball host Elle Duncan wrote and voiced a 2022 WNBA season primer that is airing this week on the flagship news and information program.
- Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics joins NBA Today on Thursday (3 p.m., ESPN).
- Two-time WNBA champion and Finals MVP Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm will be interviewed Thursday on the 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter.
- Halftime of Sunday’s Mother’s Day doubleheader will include a special feature voiced by Rebecca Lobo that celebrates the mothers in the WNBA, including league stars Breanna Stewart, Candace Parker, Dearica Hamby and more. The piece will highlight how all these women balance the responsibilities of motherhood coupled with being a professional athlete.
Throughout the 2022 season, the WNBA will also be part of ESPN’s Fifty/50 programming initiative commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding, and gave women the equal opportunity to play.
ESPN.com and espnW
ESPN.com and espnW will feature season-long WNBA content, including updated rankings of the top 25 players; top 25 players under 25; rookie rankings; midseason awards and regular profiles/features, as well as WNBA player cards, gamecasts, game recaps/highlights, and more. Mechelle Voepel and Alexa Philippou are ESPN’s lead WNBA and women’s basketballwriters.Their weekly staples will include WNBA Power Rankings every Monday (Voepel); and a story Thursday focused on everything a fan needs to know from the court to #WNBATwitter to fantasy women’s basketball (Philippou).
ESPN.com’s season preview content will include:
- Preseason Top 25 Player Rankings
- Preseason WNBA Power Rankings (Voepel)
- Atlanta Dream’s Rhyne Howard has plenty to prove as she makes her debut (Philippou)
- WNBA Rookies: Projecting which players will make the biggest impact this season (Kevin Pelton)
- How the Phoenix Mercury are preparing for the season without Brittney Griner (Josh Weinfuss)
- How the Los Angeles Sparks are looking to rebound and build for the future (Philippou)
- WNBA predictions, storylines and questions to watch as the 2022 season tips off
- Takeaways from opening day (including Pelton live from Minnesota-Seattle)
Andscape, the Black media platform dedicated to creating, highlighting, and uplifting the diverse stories of Black identity, will feature a pair of WNBA opening weekend features from women’s basketball writer Sean Hurd:
- ‘It’s Showtime’: Why Nneka Ogwumike is primed for a bounce-back WNBA season
- In collaboration with Getty Images and ESPN Creative Studio, Andscape chronicles the overseas experiences of four Black WNBA players: Brionna Jones (Connecticut/Czech Republic), Bria Hartley (Indiana/Turkey), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut/Turkey), and Kahleah Copper (Chicago/Spain), capturing their daily lives through photography and the players’ personal reflections. (May 9)
The 2022 WNBA season marks the debut of ESPN Fantasy’s first season-long, full-scale fantasy game dedicated to a major women’s sport. Women’s Basketball presented by State Farm is now open and ready for fans to sign-up, create and join leagues, and prepare for their drafts in the ESPN Fantasy App and at ESPN.com/Fantasy. Release.
WNBA Hoop Streams presented by Google digital/social pregame shows will air live before key matchups this season on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the ESPN App, 30 minutes prior to tip-off. Christine Williamson will host throughout the season with various women’s basketball analysts and experts joining.
All season, ESPN Social will promote upcoming games and times and highlight WNBA Commissioner’s Cup standings, power rankings, fantasy updates, final score and game stats. A digital animation series will also spotlight the final season and legendary career of Sylvia Fowles.
Tip off weekend coverage plans:
- “Fan Favorites from the 2021 Season’ daily posts on espnW IG Reels
- Live on-site coverage of ESPN’s season-opening Connecticut Sun at New York Liberty game on May 7
- WNBA Mother’s Day images for Sunday’s ESPN2 doubleheader
- Custom images for the WNBA season opener and Chicago Sky championship ring ceremony